Breast lumps are common, especially in women ages 30 to 50. A
number of conditions can result in a lump or lumps in your breast. Most of
these conditions are harmless or of minor concern.
Generalized breast lumpiness usually
feels like lots of little bumps (nodularity) or as though some areas of the
breast are thicker or denser than other areas. Your breasts also may feel
tender. The lumps may occur in both breasts around the nipple and in the upper,
outer part of the breasts, especially before your menstrual period. The lumps
may come and go and change size in just a few days. Generalized lumpiness was
once thought to be abnormal and was even called fibrocystic breast disease, but
it is so common that it is now considered normal. Breast lumpiness usually goes
menopause but may be found in women who are taking
hormone therapy after menopause.
Following are other types of breast lumps and their
fluid-filled sacs in the breast. They feel smooth or rubbery and move about
under the fingers. They can be quite painful or tender, or they may be
painless. Cysts are caused by the hormones that control the menstrual cycle.
Cysts are rare in women older than 50 and are not related to breast cancer. If
you have a cyst, your doctor may drain (aspirate) it to help
relieve the pain and confirm the diagnosis.
Sebaceous cysts are caused by plugged ducts at the
site of a hair follicle. Like a cyst, they move freely under the fingers.
Hormone stimulation or injury may cause them to enlarge. A sebaceous cyst that
does not cause symptoms does not require medical treatment. Removal usually
involves making a small incision in the skin and removing the entire sac so
that it does not return.
pockets of infection within the breast. They may be quite painful, and the skin
over the breast may be red or feel hot or solid. You may feel feverish or ill.
Abscesses are treated with antibiotics and surgery to drain the abscess. They
are most common in women who are breast-feeding.